April 17, 2011

Time Fades Away

 Precious time is slippin' away,
You know you're only queen for a day;
It doesn't matter to which God you pray,
Precious time is slippin' away...
                                                                                    Van Morrison

I've been feeling down lately. It happens from time to time, even though I am, as a rule, a positive, glass half-full person, happy in my reality.  Or at least able to accept it and make the most of it.  But every now and then, like many people, I look at my life and wish it were a little different.  Most often the feeling is connected to the limited amount of time I have for printmaking.  That's when I indulge in dreams of waking up in the morning, without having to go work in an office all day to make money, able to start drawing and carving and printing right away.  And, yes, I know I've whined about this before and, in the big scheme of things, it's really a minor issue but, as Neil Young so aptly put it: "Though my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away".
Currently, my blues have a lot to do with my parents' steady downhill slide into old age.  My mother has recently been diagnosed with dementia: she lives in an alternate reality that has, I guess, some resemblance to what her life was once like but is mostly fantasy.  My father, although marginally better because he at least knows what day it is and what his phone number is, also has severe memory problems and also lives in a world mostly removed from reality. They're still able to look after themselves in a basic way so the health authorities still say they're ok to live with us, but it's rough.  Much of the time I feel as if I'm looking after two very stubborn and temperamental children who need to have everything explained to them, over and over again, only to forget the explanations from one day to the next.  Looking after all their financial issues, and health issues, and appointments, has not only cut away another chunk of the already limited time I have for printmaking but leaves me in a constant state of mourning for the people I knew who are now gone.  

Sadly, standing as witness to the decline of the two of them and remembering that they once were, without exaggeration, brilliant, artistic, capable, and incredibly productive, makes me realize that life can sometimes cut our productivity and creativity short.  And I feel an even greater yearning for more creative time, and a greater sense of urgency to make as much as I can of the time I myself have while, ironically, in my new role as "caregiver", there's less of it.

Maybe for this reason, or maybe simply because it's an escape of sorts, I'm working on two prints at once now and, for the first time in a long time, even opted out of movie night last night and worked until 1:00 am to get my blocks "print ready" for today.

The colour I mixed for the second layer of the current nursery rhyme print was a lovely rich egg-yolk yellow but, as is clear in this picture, the blue underneath it muted it down:

I think my next colour will give the gold the illusion of more warmth but for now it looks just a bit dull.

After I finished up with the above for today, I washed the brayer and inking plate and mixed a similar yellow for my other print.  For this one though, I'm beginning the print with Georgian oil paints and printmaking medium because I want a more translucent quality.  

I'm not sure if the photos really capture the difference between the mixture of oil paint and medium and DS inks but, in real life, it's very easy to see the distinctions in viscosity just in the way it rolls out on the inking plate and block (a more detailed comparison can be found here):

With Daniel Smith inks, the carbon drawing wouldn't be anywhere near as visible as it is here:

And here it is, when printed on BFK Rives heavyweight:

Beyond this, I'm once again on the fence about the next colour(s) and the two options I'm considering are polar opposites to each other.  I have to make a decision by next week, before the second colour goes down so I guess I'd better start thinking.   


Wendy Willis said...

My heart goes out to you. I helped care for my husband's parents...and watched my best friend care for her parents too the way you are. God love the caregiver. It is wonderful that you can immerse yourself in relief printing. Try to take care of yourself. Ask for help and time off. People want to help.

Libby Fife said...

I worry about this kind of ending also with my parents. It is always sort of at the back of my mind; that and the part about time slipping away. I asked my husband the other day about how things would be in the future. His response to me (essentially) was that the future is right now. Get busy living or get busy dying.

As for the print, the color looks great! Very cheerful and I can't wait to see what goes down next.

Take care of yourself and give yourself plenty of slack:)

Katka said...

Thank you from the heart, Wendy and Libby, for your positive and encouraging comments.

It seems that many, many people these days face the same issue: aging parents. The place where I work hosts regular information seminars where guest speakers come and talk about various "family related" topics. On the day the topic was "caring for aging parents" the attendance was at a record high and the room full almost to capacity.

For myself, I have to try and cultivate patience...never a strong point. And, I have to learn, as you say Libby, to give myself "plenty of slack" during all those times when I'm not as patient as I should be. But it sure wasn't like this on "The Waltons"....